Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World
When Nell Stevens was given the opportunity to spend three months in a location of her choice in order to write her novel, she was determined to rid herself of all distractions. So Nell decided to travel to Bleaker Island (official population: two) in the Falklands where she would write 2,500 words a day. But Bleaker House is not that novel. Instead this is a book about a young woman realising that the way to writing fiction doesn't necessarily lie in total solitude and a clear plan. Nor does it lie in a daily ration of 1085 calories, no means of contacting the outside world and a slow descent towards something that feels worryingly like madness ...Hilariously funny, painfully honest, and beautifully observed, Bleaker House is part memoir, part travelogue, part story collection. It is an exploration of the narrow spaces between real life and fiction and, in the end, a book about failing to write a novel, but finally becoming a writer.
Funny, warm and wise, Bleaker House is a book about trying, and failing, to write a novel.
Perfect -- Lena Dunham Hilarious and original, charming and engaging. I loved it -- Rebecca Wait, author of The View on the Way Down and The Followers Nell Stevens takes you on a wild ramble across the landscape of the writing life, and at the end sets you down somewhere entirely new and unexpected. This is a romp of a book, a genre-defying feat of the imagination, and pure pleasure to read. -- Alison Pick, Booker-longlisted author of Far to Go I read Bleaker House in a gulp. It's a charming read whose first third has a laugh a page before Nell's odyssey turns into something more serious. You can't, just by attending writing school, learn how to produce fine writing. This clever and funny book shows you may also want to get out and experience the world, and yourself, as well. -- Dan Boothby, author of Island of Dreams Bleaker House is so riveting and so much fun to read, I would have loved it even if it hadn't also been innovative and brilliant, but it is all those things. Nell Stevens is an excellent writer and I can't wait to read every book she writes. -- Kate Christensen, author of PEN/Faulkner-winning The Great Man I wolfed this wholly original part-memoir, part travelogue, part short story collection in one sitting, and adored it. As well as being funny, edgy, confiding, and ever so slightly horrifying, it's also a fascinating reflection on writing: how it is taught, and how it is learned. And you'll never look at a potato - or a Ferrero Rocher chocolate - in quite the same way again Bookseller Bleaker House swirls text, subtext, and context into a single narrative, a mesmerizing literary levitation act ... lovely and thoughtful Vogue
Nell Stevens has a First in English and Creative Writing from Warwick, after which she went on to study Arabic and Comparative Literature at Harvard, and to receive a Marcia Trimble Fellowship and the Florence Engel Randall Graduate Fiction Award for her MFA in Fiction at Boston University. She is currently researching a Ph.D. in Victorian literature at King's College London. She was a finalist in the 2011 Elle magazine Writing Talent Contest, and a runner-up in both the 2014 Mslexia Memoir Competition and the 2015 Mslexia Short Story Prize.